Strolling through Brixton Market on any given day can be quite a social adventure. Banter with the stall holders, barter with the shop workers, laugh with the locals or just pass the time of day with anyone who makes eye contact. It’s enough to make one feel human, again. And lots of people do, which can also make a nice change in London. Admire the flowing African and Asian materials, remember you’re hungry thanks to the smells of many cultured foods or play guess-the-language from the multitude of accents and languages chattering around you. On one such walk, the cool end-of-summer breeze carried to me a Leeds accent, which then led me to probably the most wonderful stall on the whole market – Nzingha.
The friendly Leeds twang belonged to Beverly Quintal, a jewellery designer and founder of Nzingha – a treasure trove of a stall selling handmade, handcrafted jewellery delights. Every year, Beverly goes to Indonesia or the Gambia, or Zanzibar in Tanzania to work with the Masai or groups of local people using natural materials like flower resin, cowrie shells or buffalo horn to make the most bright, vivid and creative jewellery. The shells are coloured with natural dyes and the effects are unique one-off statement pieces that not only stand out but are resplendent in their natural roots, too.
Beverly has been in fashion for over 35 years, gave it all up and did a course making gold and silver jewellery. Six years ago she moved to Jamaica then came back to London and started off with a table in the market selling one or two handcrafted items. Now she has a large stall and regular clientele. In fact, Beverly’s jewellery is so popular, she counts Naomi Campbell’s mum as a fan, not to mention the Goggle Box
friends and celebrity Brixtonites, Sandra and Sandy.
Head down to Electric Avenue, Brixton, London to visit her or you can email her at email@example.com.